The Latest: Colorado sees surge in coronavirus cases
DENVER — Colorado is experiencing another surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, prompting Gov. Jared Polis to plead Tuesday with residents to wear masks, stay home as much as possible, and maintain social distancing practices.
As of Tuesday, Colorado’s three-day average positivity rate — the percentage of total tests coming in positive — was 5.4%, and the state recorded 1,000 new cases both on Saturday and on Monday, the highest daily numbers recorded during the pandemic, Polis said.
About 290 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest total since May 31, The Denver Post reported.
During a briefing on the pandemic, Polis didn’t suggest he was contemplating renewed mandatory restrictions on business or other activities to stem the surge. But he insisted: “If this continues, our hospital capacity will be in jeopardy.”
The World Health Organization recommends trying to keep the positivity rate below 5% of all tests. Higher rates suggest authorities are missing large numbers of infections.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— WHO: Europe reported more than 700,000 coronavirus cases last week
— Dutch order bars, restaurants closed over coronavirus concerns
— India has 55,342 coronavirus cases, lowest single-day tally since mid-August
— Safety monitoring panel will try to determine what might have caused sickness in a second COVID-19 vaccine trial paused over unexplained illness
— New poll finds coronavirus pandemic has thrust many Americans into role of caring for an older or disabled loved one for first time.
— Cristiano Ronaldo latest high-profile soccer player infected with the coronavirus, Portuguese soccer federation says.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Gov. Kristi Noem has blamed South Dakota’s recent surge in coronavirus cases on an increase in testing, even as the state sees a new high in the number of people hospitalized by the virus.
There are currently no open general-care hospital beds in the southeastern part of the state, which contains the two largest hospitals, according to the Department of Health. Hospitals are dealing with both an increase in COVID-19 patients and people needing other medical care. The Sioux Falls hospitals do have about 41% of their Intensive Care Units available.
“We have triple the amount of testing that we are doing in the state of South Dakota, which is why we’re seeing elevated positive cases,” Noem said. “That’s normal, that’s natural, that’s expected.”
The Department of Health reports 302 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized — an all-time high in the state.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Hospitalizations, virus spread and deaths continued at high levels Tuesday in Iowa on the eve of a campaign rally by President Donald Trump, where Gov. Kim Reynolds and thousands of other Trump supporters will likely defy the governor’s own emergency proclamation to keep distance between people in public places.
A public health emergency proclamation signed by Reynolds requires that organizers of mass gatherings “must ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual attending alone.” A White House Coronavirus Task Force report on Iowa from Oct. 4 said, “group gathering sizes should be limited.”
Officials at Des Moines International Airport, where the rally will be held in a cargo hangar, have been told to plan for up to 10,000 people.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the event will be in an open-door airplane hangar, and temperature checks will be taken of all participants who will also be issued masks and instructed to wear them.
Photos and reporting from a Trump rally in Florida on Monday showed little apparent social distancing efforts, and most of those at the rally didn’t appear to be wearing masks. Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 only a week ago, didn’t wear a mask while speaking.
“I would say any type of rally that’s going to gather large groups of people, whether it’s a couple hundred or couple thousand, is one of the riskiest things we can do in the setting of the pandemic,” said Dr. Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease doctor who lives in Iowa and is a faculty member of the University of North Carolina.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday she will renew public health restrictions and warned that more stringent rules could be imposed because of a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The updated regulations will take effect later this week. They’ll include limiting gatherings to five people or less, a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from states deemed high-risk, reduced hotel capacities and a 10 p.m. closing time for food or drink establishments serving alcohol.
Lujan Grisham said the virus is spiking in New Mexico right now and that the state has experienced some of the worst increases in the U.S. so far this fall. Without a vaccine, she said officials have only a few tools to fight the virus — such as making people wear masks, staying home as much as possible and avoiding groups of people.
“This kind of overwhelming and dramatic statewide spread signals one thing: Too many of us, succumbing to COVID fatigue, are no longer using those tools,” the Democratic governor said.
State health officials have reported more than 33,360 cases since the pandemic began. Officials have said 915 residents have died.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s chief health officer warned Tuesday that the state could be beginning a second wave of the coronavirus as cases rise along with the number of people in hospitals.
Michigan had 89 new cases per 1 million people per day, up from 81.6 cases last week, the health department said.
About 700 people with COVID-19 were in hospitals, up about 20% from last week. The rate of positive tests has ticked up to 3.6% from 3.4%. It was under 3% in June.
“It is very possible this is the beginning of a second wave,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan chief medical executive. “The virus has not changed. It is an opportunist. If people are not wearing masks, if people are gathering, if people are not washing their hands, it will spread.”
The number of new cases reported statewide Tuesday was 1,237.
The Upper Peninsula is a hot spot. Nick Derusha, a health officer in four U.P. counties, said there’s “pandemic fatigue” among some residents.
Derusha said some people doubt the severity of the coronavirus.
“We need all yoopers to wear your mask,” he said.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Health officials in North Dakota said Tuesday that a sixth straight day of record active COVID-19 cases put the state’s number of current infections at 4,600.
The update confirmed 517 positive tests in the last day and 12 deaths, increasing the number of fatalities due to the coronavirus to 357. The state’s rate of positive tests has risen steadily in the last week and came in over 10% Tuesday.
John Hopkins University researchers say there were more than 888 new cases per 100,000 people in North Dakota over the past two weeks, which ranks first in the country for new cases per capita.
Hospitalizations remained unchanged at 158. Health department data shows the state has 29 staffed ICU beds and 253 staffed inpatient beds available.
HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that officials aren’t aware of any COVID-19 cases stemming from the campaign fundraiser that President Donald Trump held recently at his Bedminster golf club.
More than 200 donors and staff were at the Oct. 1 event. The Democratic governor said state and county officials have been working to contact all attendees but have not heard of any cases that trace back to the event.
The White House said last week that the president did not have any contact with anyone that would be considered close, based on CDC guidelines.
Trump announced he was positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours after the fundraiser.
Murphy spoke Thursday at an unrelated event in the same county where the president’s golf club is located.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has hit a pair of grim coronavirus milestones, with record highs for positive cases and deaths reported on the eve of an overflow field hospital opening near Milwaukee.
The state Department of Health Services reported 3,279 new cases Tuesday, breaking a five-day-old record. It reported 34 deaths, also a new high, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,508. To date, more than 155,000 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers urged people to stay home, wear masks when they go outside, limit exposure to others and maintain a social distance.
OKLAHOMA CITY — A requirement to wear masks in Oklahoma City in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus was extended to Dec. 7 on Tuesday by the City Council.
“I think it’s important that we know again that masking reduces the transmission of infection in the community by 70-85%,” Oklahoma City/County Health Department Director Patrick McGough said before councilors approved the extension from the original Oct. 20 expiration date.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday reported 1,309 new virus cases and 15 more deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. There have been 101,493 reported virus cases and 1,119 deaths since the pandemic began. The department reports that a record 760 people are currently hospitalized.
INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame’s president has ended his quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus after his attendance at a White House event without wearing a mask.
The Rev. John Jenkins “is symptom-free,” the university announced Monday. He began his self-isolation period on Sept. 28, two days after he attended the Rose Garden nomination ceremony of Notre Dame law professor Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court justice.
The university announced the university president’s COVID-19 diagnosis on Oct. 2. Jenkins has since apologized, writing his regret in a Sept. 28 letter to the Notre Dame campus of about 12,000 students.
The university’s online coronavirus tally showed five new cases reported on Tuesday, giving the school 819 total infections among students and staff. The school estimates 29 active cases.
PHOENIX — Arizona health officials are reporting more than 680 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths.
After two days of no virus-related deaths, the latest numbers on Tuesday bring the statewide confirmed case total to more than 226,000 and the 5,767 confirmed deaths.
On Saturday, state Department of Health Services officials reported 894 new cases. That was the largest daily increase since mid-September.
The number of actual coronavirus infections is likely far higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health officials have added 27 more coronavirus-related deaths to the state’s pandemic toll as the infection rates and hospitalizations increase.
The 1,288 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday marked the ninth straight day topping 1,000 after not reaching that high since the end of May, the Indiana State Department of Health reported.
The hospitalizations are up 70% in the past three weeks, which is when Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to lift nearly all of Indiana’s restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes while keeping the statewide mask mandate.
The deaths raise the state’s confirmed toll to 3,822.
MADRID — The Spanish government says the spread of the coronavirus in Madrid is still worrisome despite a drop in the number of patients treated in hospitals.
The Madrid regional chief, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, urged again the central government to lift a soft lockdown that was imposed on Friday.
But Health Minister Salvador Illa says time is needed to evaluate if a slower spread of the virus is not due to delays in the reporting of infections or the lower number of lab tests performed in Madrid.
Madrid accounted for 15% of 7,118 new infections reported Tuesday by the health ministry, bringing the national caseload to more than 896,000. With 80 new deaths confirmed in the past 24 hours, the death toll rose to 33,204.
Health experts agree that official numbers fail to capture the real extent of the outbreaks due to insufficient testing, cases missed or other issues.
JERUSALEM — An Israeli Cabinet minister has acknowledged violating the country’s lockdown restrictions, joining a long list of senior officials to flout the rules.
Channel 13 TV says Rabbi Yaakov Avitan, the minister of religious affairs, performed a wedding ceremony in southern Israel on Tuesday. The station says there were some 60 people at the ceremony, well over the 20 people permitted at such gatherings.
In a statement to the station, Avitan says he made a mistake in judgment and expressed regret.
A number of top officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, President Reuven Rivlin, the head of the Shin Bet security agency and other politicians have violated lockdown restrictions in recent months, undercutting public trust in the government’s response to the pandemic.
Israel, a country of 9 million, is grappling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks on a per capita basis. It has reported more than 243,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,000 deaths.
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan has reported a record 2,054 new coronavirus cases, raising the confirmed total to 28,127.
Through a strict lockdown earlier this year, Jordan appeared to bring a first wave of infections under control.
But after reopening its economy and international airport, the coronavirus has returned in recent months, forcing the government to impose new lockdown restrictions that include the closings of schools and tight weekend curfews.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson executives say it will be a few days before they know more about an unexplained illness in one participant that caused a temporary pause in its late-stage COVID-19 vaccine study.
“It may have nothing to do with the vaccine,” Mathai Mammen, head of research and development for Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s medicine development business, said Tuesday.
Mammen says they don’t yet know whether the ill study participant received their experimental vaccine or a dummy shot. He says Johnson & Johnson gave information on the case to the independent monitoring board overseeing the safety of patients in the study, as the research protocol requires. It will recommend next steps.
The study of the one-dose vaccine called ENSEMBLE will include up to 60,000 people from multiple countries. The company expects to complete enrollment in the study in two or three months.
Johnson & Johnson isn’t disclosing the nature of the illness, which it learned of Sunday and disclosed Monday night. Such pauses are not uncommon in long clinical studies, as some participants come down with an unrelated illness.
Unlike a study hold imposed by government regulators, a pause is initiated by the sponsor of the drug trial and often can be quickly resolved.
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says the aim of Italy’s new anti-virus restrictions limiting nightlife and socializing is to head off another general lockdown.
Conte defended the measures as both “adequate and proportional.” He spoke Tuesday as the health ministry reported another 5,901 people tested positive in the past day and 41 deaths.
That brings Italy’s official COVID-19 death toll to 36,246, the second highest in Europe after Britain.
Conte on Tuesday issued a new decree requiring bars and restaurants to close at midnight and preventing consumption of alcohol and food outside bars after 9 p.m. The measures, as well as recommended limits on private parties, aim to decrease casual socializing blamed for Italy’s latest surge.
Currently, Italy has more than 5,000 people in the hospital and 500 in intensive care, a fraction of the springtime peak, but worrisome given cases are surging in every Italian region.